lunedì 27 febbraio 2017

Modern Masters 2017 Predictions

In the vein of the last post, I'll also try my luck with some MM3 predictions. I'll follow the same rules as the Eternal Masters predictions contest that was run at the time on MTGS, but adapted. This means the list of most played cards has been compiled with the following criteria:

- No cards from Theros onward.
- No DFCs.
- Cards in the 60-days most played cards list from Metamox for Modern (checked on February 25th 2017).

The resulting list is the following (the reported set is the oldest one legal in Modern that contains the card):

# Name Set
706 Path to Exile CON
660 Lightning Bolt M10
489 Noble Hierarch CON
461 Verdant Catacombs ZEN
397 Thoughtseize LOR
327 Inquisition of Kozilek ROE
322 Spellskite NPH
321 Grafdigger's Cage DKA
312 Ancient Stirrings ROE
312 Tarmogoyf FUT
308 Inkmoth Nexus MBS
288 Stomping Ground GPT
287 Stony Silence INN
285 Serum Visions 5DN
280 Kitchen Finks SHM
275 Scalding Tarn ZEN
272 Engineered Explosives 5DN
265 Nature's Claim WWK
254 Blackcleave Cliffs SOM
247 Liliana of the Veil INN
242 Dismember NPH
237 Cavern of Souls AVR
229 Scavenging Ooze M14
222 Abrupt Decay RTR
213 Ancient Grudge TSP
213 Eldrazi Temple ROE
205 Mutagenic Growth NPH
193 Ghost Quarter DIS
191 Simian Spirit Guide PLC
190 Spell Pierce ZEN
187 Snapcaster Mage INN
184 Mox Opal SOM
183 Relic of Progenitus ALA
179 Overgrown Tomb RAV
177 Rest in Peace RTR
174 Lightning Helix RAV
171 Arid Mesa ZEN
168 Blinkmoth Nexus DST
168 Dark Confidant RAV
167 Sacred Foundry RAV
165 Temple Garden RAV
164 Arcbound Ravager DST
164 Cranial Plating 5DN
164 Darksteel Citadel DST
164 Ornithopter MIR
164 Springleaf Drum LOR
164 Vault Skirge NPH
163 Terminate ARB
160 Signal Pest MBS
159 Fulminator Mage SHM
157 Glimmervoid MIR
155 Etched Champion SOM
155 Steel Overseer M11
152 Steam Vents GPT
151 Faithless Looting DKA
147 Birds of Paradise RAV
145 Breeding Pool DIS
144 Brushland 9ED
144 Glistener Elf NPH
144 Might of Old Krosa TSP
142 Galvanic Blast SOM
141 Blood Crypt DIS
141 Misty Rainforest ZEN
141 Surgical Extraction NPH
140 Blighted Agent NPH
138 Vines of Vastwood ZEN
137 Lingering Souls DKA
135 Dispel WWK
134 Wild Nacatl ALA
131 Blood Moon 9ED
128 Goblin Guide ZEN
127 Chord of Calling RAV
121 Copperline Gorge SOM
121 Memnite SOM
120 Leyline of Sanctity M11
120 Sakura-Tribe Elder CHK
120 Search for Tomorrow TSP
119 Marsh Flats ZEN
119 Yavimaya Coast 9ED
118 Raging Ravine WWK
116 Lava Spike CHK
116 Urza's Tower 9ED
115 Urza's Mine 9ED
115 Urza's Power Plant 9ED
114 Boros Charm GTC
114 Expedition Map ZEN
109 Searing Blaze WWK
108 Narcomoeba FUT
108 Rift Bolt TSP
108 Sylvan Scrying MIR
107 Bloodghast ZEN
107 Chalice of the Void MIR
105 Stinkweed Imp RAV
104 Chromatic Star TSP
102 Chromatic Sphere MIR
102 Horizon Canopy FUT
102 Karn Liberated NPH
102 Negate MOR
100 Hallowed Fountain DIS
100 Primeval Titan M11
100 Through the Breach CHK
99 Leyline of the Void GPT
98 Mana Leak 9ED
98 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle ZEN
97 Remand RAV
97 Sleight of Hand 9ED
95 Gemstone Mine TSP
95 Spell Snare DIS
93 Razorverge Thicket SOM
93 Twisted Image SOM
88 Thought Scour DKA
87 Maelstrom Pulse ARB
86 Celestial Colonnade WWK
84 Eternal Witness 5DN
82 Thragtusk M13
81 Obstinate Baloth M11
81 Skullcrack GTC
80 Cryptic Command LOR
80 Godless Shrine GPT
80 Pendelhaven TSP
80 Street Wraith FUT
78 Darkslick Shores SOM
78 Mishra's Bauble CSP
77 Summoner's Pact FUT
76 Farseek RAV
74 Gavony Township INN
74 Grim Lavamancer M12
73 Conflagrate TSP
73 Grove of the Burnwillows FUT
73 Master of Etherium ALA
73 Oblivion Stone MIR
73 Voice of Resurgence DGM
72 Sudden Shock TSP
70 Apostle's Blessing NPH
68 Aether Vial DST
68 Delver of Secrets INN
68 Life from the Loam RAV
67 Ancestral Vision TSP
67 Ghirapur Aether Grid ORI
66 Death's Shadow WWK
65 Seachrome Coast SOM
64 Pact of Negation FUT
63 Mutavault MOR
62 Angel's Grace TSP
62 Cathartic Reunion KLD
60 Ad Nauseam ALA
60 Damnation PLC
60 Kor Firewalker WWK
60 Lotus Bloom TSP
60 Pentad Prism 5DN
59 Manamorphose SHM
59 Pithing Needle SOK
58 Melira, Sylvok Outcast NPH
58 Phyrexian Unlife NPH
58 Whipflare NPH
57 Qasali Pridemage ARB
57 Twilight Mire EVE
54 Dakmor Salvage FUT
54 Spirebluff Canal KLD
53 Wurmcoil Engine SOM
51 Scapeshift MOR
50 Pyroclasm 9ED
50 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben DKA
49 Izzet Staticaster RTR
49 Restoration Angel AVR
49 Timely Reinforcements M12
48 Elvish Archdruid M10
48 Heritage Druid MOR
48 Llanowar Elves 9ED
47 Nihil Spellbomb SOM
47 Reclamation Sage M15
47 Viscera Seer M11
46 Elvish Mystic M14
46 Spreading Seas ZEN
46 Worship 9ED
45 Distortion Strike ROE
45 Knight of the Reliquary CON
45 Sulfur Falls INN
45 Vendilion Clique MOR
44 Lightning Axe TSP
44 Supreme Verdict RTR
44 Wall of Roots TSP
43 Dwynen's Elite ORI
42 Electrolyze GPT
42 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn ROE
42 Hurkyl's Recall 10E
41 Ensnaring Bridge 8ED
41 Watery Grave RAV
41 Wear // Tear (Tear) DGM
41 Wear // Tear (Wear) DGM
40 Cursecatcher SHM
40 Kataki, War's Wage SOK
40 Lord of Atlantis TSP
40 Master of the Pearl Trident M13
40 Pia and Kiran Nalaar ORI
40 Silvergill Adept LOR
40 Young Pyromancer M14
39 Elvish Visionary ALA
39 Wall of Omens ROE
38 Tidehollow Sculler ALA
37 Slaughter Pact FUT
36 Darkblast RAV
36 Nettle Sentinel EVE
36 Spoils of the Vault MIR
36 Viridian Corrupter MBS
34 Dryad Arbor FUT
34 Ezuri, Renegade Leader SOM
33 Gnaw to the Bone INN
33 Ravenous Trap ZEN
33 Steppe Lynx ZEN
32 Goryo's Vengeance BOK
32 Griselbrand AVR
32 Harbinger of the Tides ORI
32 Shatterstorm 10E
30 Explore WWK
30 Merrow Reejerey LOR
29 Desperate Ritual CHK
28 Molten Rain MIR
27 Geist of Saint Traft INN
26 Celestial Purge CON
26 Gut Shot NPH
26 Slaughter Games RTR
26 Tormod's Crypt TSP
26 Vapor Snag NPH
25 Countersquall CON
25 Duress M10
25 Izzet Charm GTC
24 Golgari Charm RTR
24 Leonin Arbiter SOM
24 Pyromancer Ascension ZEN
24 Tectonic Edge WWK
23 Burrenton Forge-Tender LOR
23 Flickerwisp EVE
23 Glacial Fortress M10
23 Loxodon Smiter RTR
22 Aven Mindcensor FUT
22 Echoing Truth DST
22 Orzhov Pontiff GPT
22 Wrath of God 8ED
21 Bojuka Bog WWK
21 Groundswell WWK
20 Codex Shredder RTR
20 Demonic Dread ARB
20 Goblin Electromancer RTR
20 Lantern of Insight 5DN
20 Pyretic Ritual M11
20 Tidebinder Mage M14
20 Vandalblast RTR
20 Violent Outburst ARB
19 Dreadbore RTR
19 Fog M10
19 Greater Gargadon TSP
19 Khalni Heart Expedition ZEN
19 Shriekhorn MBS
18 Blade Splicer NPH
18 Creeping Tar Pit WWK
18 Ethereal Haze CHK
18 Faerie Macabre SHM
18 Fracturing Gust SHM
18 Ghoulcaller's Bell INN
18 Gilt-Leaf Palace LOR
18 Thoughtcast MIR
18 Thrun, the Last Troll MBS
18 Welding Jar MIR
17 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner BOK
17 Past in Flames INN
17 Shaman of the Pack ORI
17 Worldspine Wurm RTR
16 Architects of Will ARB
16 Deadshot Minotaur ARB
16 Fiend Hunter INN
16 Gideon Jura ROE
16 Ingot Chewer LOR
16 Kiln Fiend ROE
16 Laboratory Maniac INN
16 Lightning Storm CSP
16 Magma Spray ALA
16 Monstrous Carabid ARB
16 Nourishing Shoal BOK
16 Rancor M13
16 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth TSP
15 Ajani Vengeant ALA
15 Boseiju, Who Shelters All CHK
15 Desolate Lighthouse INN
15 Ghor-Clan Rampager GTC
15 Murderous Redcap SHM
15 Night of Souls' Betrayal CHK
15 Ranger of Eos ALA
15 Shriekmaw LOR
14 Bitterblossom MOR
14 City of Brass 8ED
14 Crucible of Worlds 5DN
14 Rakdos Charm RTR
14 Shivan Reef 9ED
14 Tarfire LOR
13 Firespout SHM
13 Gifts Ungiven CHK
13 Grapeshot TSP
13 Logic Knot FUT
13 Night's Whisper 5DN
13 Phantasmal Image M12
13 Ratchet Bomb SOM
13 Shattering Spree GPT
13 Think Twice TSP
13 Vengeful Pharaoh M12
13 Wild Defiance AVR
13 Zealous Persecution ARB
12 Archangel of Thune M14
12 Bridge from Below FUT
12 Burning-Tree Emissary GTC
12 Caves of Koilos 9ED
12 Experiment One GTC
12 Kird Ape 9ED
12 Koth of the Hammer SOM
12 Living End TSP
12 Reckless Bushwhacker ZEN
12 Shard Volley MOR
12 Skred CSP
12 Stirring Wildwood WWK
12 Visions of Beyond M12
11 Batterskull NPH
11 Condemn DIS
11 Darkness TSP
11 Dragon's Claw 9ED
11 Kessig Wolf Run INN
11 Lead the Stampede MBS
11 Rugged Prairie EVE
11 Seal of Primordium PLC
10 Academy Ruins TSP
10 Beast Within NPH
10 Empty the Warrens TSP
10 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker CHK
10 Ricochet Trap WWK
10 Unified Will ROE
9 Chameleon Colossus LOR
9 Essence Warden PLC
9 Exquisite Firecraft ORI
9 Flames of the Blood Hand BOK
9 Phyrexian Revoker MBS
9 Scourge Devil ALA
9 Sin Collector DGM
9 Sunlance PLC
9 Tolaria West FUT
9 Worldly Counsel CON
8 Ajani's Pridemate M11
8 Amulet of Vigor WWK
8 Borborygmos Enraged GTC
8 Bump in the Night INN
8 Champion of the Parish INN
8 Daybreak Coronet FUT
8 Dreadship Reef TSP
8 Drogskol Captain DKA
8 Elvish Champion 8ED
8 Ethereal Armor RTR
8 Gladecover Scout M12
8 Goblin Rabblemaster M15
8 Linvala, Keeper of Silence ROE
8 Meddling Mage ARB
8 Mind Stone 10E
8 Plated Geopede ZEN
8 Prismatic Omen SHM
8 Raven's Crime EVE
8 Sakura-Tribe Scout SOK
8 Seal of Fire DIS
8 Shrieking Affliction RTR
8 Simic Growth Chamber DIS
8 Slippery Bogle EVE
8 Smallpox TSP
8 Soul Warden 9ED
8 Sphinx's Revelation RTR
8 Spider Umbra ROE
8 The Rack TSP
7 Azusa, Lost but Seeking CHK
7 Boom // Bust (Boom) PLC
7 Boom // Bust (Bust) PLC
7 Detention Sphere RTR
7 Faith's Shield DKA
7 Forked Bolt ROE
7 Hangarback Walker ORI
7 Jungle Weaver ALA
7 Llanowar Wastes 9ED
7 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds SOK
7 Rest for the Weary WWK
7 Serra Ascendant M11
7 Shadow of Doubt RAV
7 Sigarda, Host of Herons AVR
7 Soul's Attendant ROE
7 Sun Droplet MIR
7 Talisman of Progress MIR
6 Burning Inquiry M10
6 Choke 8ED
6 Creeping Corrosion MBS
6 Disenchant TSP
6 Flame Slash ROE
6 Gemstone Caverns TSP
6 Gruul Turf GPT
6 Hunting Wilds PLC
6 Hyena Umbra ROE
6 Kor Spiritdancer ROE
6 Minamo, School at Water's Edge CHK
6 Olivia Voldaren INN
6 Pyrite Spellbomb MIR
6 Quicksilver Amulet M12
6 Scrying Sheets CSP
6 Smash to Smithereens SHM
6 Spike Feeder TSP
6 Vexing Devil AVR
5 All Is Dust ROE
5 Boreal Druid CSP
5 Carrion Call SOM
5 Desperate Ravings INN
5 Esper Charm ALA
5 Gaea's Revenge M11
5 Grave Titan M11
5 Holy Day 8ED
5 Jund Charm ALA
5 Krosan Grip TSP
5 Oblivion Ring LOR
5 Rally the Peasants INN
5 Spirit Mantle M12
5 Vampiric Link PLC
5 Wanderwine Hub LOR

Like in the EMA contest, I forced myself to not choose cards we already know will be reprinted (at the time of this post this means the three cards from the packaging: Griselbrand, Stoic Angel, Domri Rade). What I chose:

Reprint (mainly trying to guess reprints from the new sets: INN and RTR blocks)
Viscera Seer
Fiend Hunter
Laboratory Maniac
Burning-Tree Emissary
Sphinx's Revelation

No reprint
Thoughtseize
Inquisition of Kozilek
Grafdigger's Cage
Stomping Ground (and shocklands in general)
Stony Silence (despite INN being one of the new sets)

I participated in the EMA contest but I don't remember how I did. Obviously I didn't win. My goal here is to see what I do compared to the best possible. When the full spoiler is known, I'll probably come back and check how I did.

Leo

giovedì 23 febbraio 2017

Amonkhet Predictions

So, I just saw this video from the Tolarian Community College making predictions about Amonkhet. The five predictions from the video are the following:

1- Bolas wins and the Gatewatch loses, but no Gatewatch member dies.
2- AKH is only loosely Egyptian based, with just an Egyptian fantasy flavor rather than being a realistic take on Egyptian mythology.
3- Return of "Enchantment Creature — God" cards, with AKH as maybe an enchantments-matter block.
4- The block right after AKH is a return to Dominaria, not a return to New Phyrexia and also not Atlazan.
5- Damnation is reprinted somewhere in the AKH block, either as a regular card, a Masterpiece, or both.


The video was posted one week ago, February 16th 2017, but I just saw it now (February 23rd 2017). I was inspired to write down my own predictions, and that's what I'm doing here. The reason I'm doing this is that I actually have a pretty good record on these (for example calling Tarkir to be the wedge set way before we officially knew it among other things), but the first and only time so far that I went and posted a prediction publicly on the internet (MTGS speculation forum) instead of keeping it to myself, it was wrong. I said the famous "mechanic E" from Mirrodin design was going to be in Kaladesh and it was going to be Vehicles. It turned out it was indeed in the Kaladesh set, and that was the easy part, but it actually was energy, and Vehicles were a separate and completely unrelated thing. So this is me trying again to see if I have better luck this time.

My stand on each of the predictions from the video and my own predictions are as follows.


1- Bolas wins and the Gatewatch loses, but no Gatewatch member dies.

This has been pretty much a given since at least the final AER story ("Renewal"), and I think everybody sees this coming. I totally agree with this prediction, including the "no Gatewatch deaths" part. This was easy.


2- AKH is only loosely Egyptian based, with just an Egyptian fantasy flavor rather than being a realistic take on Egyptian mythology.

Realistic planes have died with Kamigawa. Nowadays, planes are based on the public perception of the source material and not their fidelity to it. The typical example is that there is a Kraken on Theros even though none are found in real ancient Greek mythology. I think this is also an easy one. So easy that I personally don't even feel this is a prediction, this is just something obvious being stated, nothing more.


3- Return of "Enchantment Creature — God" cards, with AKH as maybe an enchantments-matter block.

I obviously agree with gods being there on Amonkhet, we've been told they are there right in the set announcement and they've also shown us their art between last week (when the video was posted) and today. I completely disagree with them being enchantment creatures and also with an enchantment-matters theme being there in the set. Both things would just make Amonkhet too much like Theros. I expect the enchantment-matters theme being there in the inevitable return to Theros, not here in AKH. At the contrary, I think we actually need to find all the possible ways to separate Amonkhet from Theros, and one of those ways is to have the gods not be enchantments. From the look of their art, I actually think they might be artifact creatures, with the creature type not being always on being the only thing they have in common with the Theros gods, in addition to being legendary of course. I expect the condition to be creatures not to be devotion, and even more, I don't expect devotion to show at all in AKH block. I'm also 100% convinced they showed the AKH gods to us in WUBRG order (the cat is white, the ibis is blue, the crocodile is black, the dog is red, the snake is green) and that they won't be straight-up copies of Egyptian ancient gods but rather mix-and-matches of different ones, like they did with Theros and the gods from ancient Greek mythology.


4- The block right after AKH is a return to Dominaria, not a return to New Phyrexia and also not Atlazan.

I disagree with this, but just because of the sequencing of blocks. My reasoning is the following. The AKH official packaging has the two arts from the famous survey picture, which means that the survey picture is real, as I've honestly always thought. The official tweet following the leak immediately smelled of "panic in Seattle" to me, like if they didn't expect the world to see that picture and they needed to put a quick patch on it somehow, complete with grammar mistakes just to make sure to show how quickly it was put together. Also, the tweet never denied that the picture was true, it just said the survey was to test packaging design. That didn't mean the picture wasn't true, and in fact now we have proof that it was true indeed. That has a lot of consequences:
- We won't actually see Nicol Bolas's card until Hour of Devastation (so no Bolas card in the AKH set).
- The names "Atlazan" and "Conquest of Power" are real, or at least they were at the time of the survey. Sam Stoddard told us in one of the latest Latest Developments articles (pun may or may not be intended) that Development is about to close this year's fall set, so those names might have changed in the meantime. I'll still use them anyway until they're proven wrong.
- Atlazan block has a Mesoamerican flavor.
- Vraska is in the Atlazan set. This also means that Atlazan is the "nowhere" that Ral Zarek saw Vraska planeswalk to, and that has potentially interesting story implications, like Atlazan being a hidden plane or something like that.
- Ajani is in the Conquest of Power set (relevant to my reasoning).

I agree we had a lot of signals that we're going back to Dominaria soon, and the 25th anniversary of the game being in a year is a pretty nice coincidence. It's too nice actually. Let's just remember the anniversary is in August 2018 (Alpha came out August 5th 1993), so it makes sense to actually celebrate it with the spring/summer 2018 block rather than the fall 2017/winter 2018 one. Also, we know that in the ongoing Gatewatch story Ajani isn't going to Amonkhet and told the others to meet again on Dominaria (see the Kaladesh art book), even if Dominaria isn't mentioned at all in "Renewal". What do I see if I put all of this together? This:

Spring 2017: Amonkhet — AKH block has all the Gatewatch except Ajani. The first set (Amonkhet) deals with Razaketh, the third Liliana demon, which we know is on Amonkhet (from "Puppets"). I think Razaketh will be defeated by Liliana with the (unwilling?) help of the other Gatewatch members available (the founders: Gideon, Jace, Chandra, Nissa) that she will manipulate into confronting Razaketh. The Chain Veil might or might not also be involved. Liliana has defeated Kothophed and Griselbrand thanks to the Veil, but now she's trying not to use it anymore, and we know that her joining the Gatewatch was actually her trying to find an alternate way to deal with her affairs without relying on the Chain Veil. The defeat of Razaketh is the turning point from Amonkhet to Hour of Devastation (kind of like Anguished Unmaking was between SOI and EMN). In HOU, the five planeswalkers fight Bolas and spectacularly lose, even if no Gatewatch members die.

Fall 2017: Atlazan — What has Ajani been up to while the rest of the Gatewatch was on Amonkhet (unbeknownst to him by the way, again see "Renewal")? Where did he go to find allies? He went to Atlazan. The story also involves Vraska in some way, with Vraska's card being in the first set and Ajani's one in the second set (see survey picture). The Atlazan story happens simultaneously to the Amonkhet one.

Spring 2018: Return to Dominaria (lining up with the 25th anniversary) — All six current Gatewatch members gather on Dominaria as planned. Ajani learns that while he was looking for allies on Atlazan to fight Bolas, the other five have already tried to do that and failed. I expect Ajani to get quite angry at the others, even though not at the point of leaving the Gatewatch. I also expect the following few blocks to be them somehow recovering and actually finding allies to try again to fight Bolas in a few years (real world time, not in-story time).


5- Damnation is reprinted somewhere in the AKH block, either as a regular card, a Masterpiece, or both.

Just two words: wishful thinking. I see no realistic way Damnation is reprinted in Standard, both because of the "no Wraths under five mana" Development approach (which we may not agree with, and I for one certainly do not agree with that, but it's still their current stance) and because of the "can't be regenerated" text. I can still see it as a Masterpiece though, as anything goes for those, but not as a regular card in either set of the block.


Other predictions not included above

- We saw that on the planeswalker deck version of Liliana there are -1/-1 counters. That means AKH block is the -1/-1 counter block we already knew was in the seven-year-plan. I predict one mechanic involving -1/-1 counters will be returning, and I expect that to be either persist or wither but not both. If I had to choose between the two, I'd probably say persist is more likely because I see it as a slightly better fit for the world of Amonkhet, mainly because of mummies and such.

- No additional planeswalkers will join the Gatewatch in this block. This means no Oath cards in AKH block.

- (I know that the revealed Nissa image might contradict this, but) I think that we will be introduced to a new monogreen or partly-green planeswalker that is native to Amonkhet. This comes from the color balance of planeswalkers in AKH block. Gideon, Liliana, and this new planeswalker will be the ones in the Amonkhet set. Bolas and one other (see next point) will be in Hour of Devastation, even though the two new planeswalkers might be swapped. Anyway, there will be three planeswalkers in AKH (including Gideon and Liliana) and two in HOU (including Bolas). The block as a whole goes back to the default of five planeswalkers after two blocks with six.

- I really think there will be a Sphinx planeswalker, as heavily hinted relatively recently on Blogatog, and there is no need for someone new as we already have one in the Magic story: Crucius. He will obviously be at least partly-blue or even monoblue. I don't know how he could be involved in the story though.


And this is it. I hope this goes better than last time.


Leo